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Grant Readiness: Scoring & Measuring When Planning


By Diane H. Leonard, GPC


Grant writers use many different terms to describe how they determine if an organization is ready to submit a grant application. These include grant readiness, competitiveness, gut feelings, and grant writer intuition. Whether it is the formal industry jargon or an informal term that you use to describe your grant readiness process, each of us has encountered situations when we knew that something just wasn't quite right and there was room for improvement.


Previous Metric Tools


There is mutual agreement amongst colleagues that having a grant readiness metric is an excellent tool for grant professionals to use when assessing and addressing areas for improvement. Such metrics can be very helpful in the pre-planning stage to identify concerns about organizational capacity and readiness. As a result, many of my respected colleagues have developed numerous static tools over the past decade. Each of them has used their tools to gather data and to assess the grant readiness of organizations to submit an application.


The GRASP Tool


A formal metric tool should provide grant professionals with information pertaining to areas of strength and areas needing improvement related to an organization's grant seeking capacity. And, I believe that the best metric tools should be designed to remove personal interpretations of data. Only then can grant teams, grant committees, nonprofit leadership and/or boards of directors an objective review be conducted. The GRASP (Grant Readiness Assessment & Strategy Prep) Tool  is exactly such a metric. I developed this tool over two years and beta tested it with my team. It was launched formally at the Grant Professionals Association Annual Conference in St. Louis last November.


The GRASP Tool helps grant professionals when planning for a new application or proposal. It helps you understand organizational strengths and/or weaknesses as they relate to grant readiness. It provides you with a starting point to address needed changes and to build on strengths – all to facilitate continued growth and improvement with each new application. (Note: Weaknesses are called areas for improvement in the GRASP Tool.)


Using the GRASP Tool


Taking the free 10-minute questionnaire and reviewing the resulting Grant Readiness Score and visual spider chart will help you and your client to better understand areas of organizational strengths and weaknesses. Based on the objective review of the findings, the Grant Readiness Score and visual report provide concrete data and visuals will guide a grant team or organization leadership to make an informed decision as to whether or not to proceed to the grant writing stage.


Here is how my team currently uses the tool with clients. I hope that it helps you develop a plan for how you might integrate it or a tool like it into your grant readiness process.



Perhaps you are still asking yourself, “But what does a Grant Readiness Score actually mean for my organization?” As with any metric, each resulting score will be different. When using the tool, it is important to remember that it should not be the sole determining factor on which to base your final decision to proceed or not. If you are interested in learning more about what each range of scores indicates, please go here.


Also it is important to note that your application may be successful in some situations with a low to medium grant readiness score. What I want you to remember is that the higher your grant readiness score, the more competitive you will be in each grant-seeking situation you pursue. The higher your score, the stronger the probability of your success.  


In Conclusion


I cannot imagine doing my work without the GRASP Tool as part of my professional toolbox. It has changed the way my team and I operate and explain grant readiness to our clients and colleagues. What tool will you use (or create) to asses grant readiness?


By: Linda Butler
On: 01/06/2016 13:18:07
Great article and tool, Diane!

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